Fic Prompts: Folklore Friday

There were, in hindsight, drawbacks to creating a homunculus out of perishable items.

In the alchemist’s defense, the economy was poor and proper crafting materials were hard to come by. She’d figured gingerbread dough would do for clay in a pinch. The sugar icing decorations and raisin buttons were wholly unnecessary, of course, but it made her apprentice happy and she couldn’t really help that. The eyes had just been two small holes at first, but then the apprentice had given her a little handful of spun sugar he’d been saving for a special occasion.

He was a good-hearted lad, the alchemist decided, and she’d have to see to it that he had a decent headstart in life when he was old enough to head out into the world alone.

Unfortunately, good-hearted did not always translate to good sense. And her apprentice was quite young, after all. A few mishaps ought to have been expected.

The alchemist did not see when her apprentice had tripped earlier, accidentally spilling other ingredients into the dough mixture. Ingredients that might interfere with the process.

The smell of gingerbread filled the air and the alchemist hoped she and her apprentice would be able to keep themselves from getting hungry if the experiment succeeded. The poor homunculus couldn’t help being a gingerbread man. It would be very rude and probably cruel to try to eat him. Perhaps next month they would have coin enough for proper materials.

Her thoughts were interrupted by her apprentice’s concerned voice. “Master? Is it supposed to be doing that?”

No sooner had the boy opened the oven to check the progress of the homunculus than a little gingerbread man had hopped straight out and was cutting a caper on the kitchen counter. He cackled and cartwheeled and hopped about in a most undignified manner.

“Well that’s a bit livelier than I expected,” said the alchemist. She bent down to examine the gingerbread man and frowned. “You’d better calm down before you fall right off the counter!” she admonished. “I need you to help my research. I won’t have you smashing yourself to bits on the tiles.”

“You can’t tell me what to do,” laughed the cookie in a startling baritone voice, “I do as I please!”

“We’ll just see about that,” said the apprentice, and made a grab for him. The half-baked homunculus nimbly dodged the boy’s hands and swung out the open window with a mocking chuckle.

Run run, as fast as you can.

You can’t catch me,

I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

This is Aurora’s Castle in the Efteling, a themepark inspired by Grimms fairytales. It is located in Kaatsheuvel, The Netherlands, so if you ever want to visit the Netherlands, and yes we are bigger than only Amsterdam! Visit this themepark, you will enjoy the nature and the fairytales.

What if Cinderella had an attitude problem and Snow White liked cider too much? What if Ariel enjoyed human company more than her own kind’s and Aurora just liked her solitude more than the human touch? What if the only rabbit hole Alice ever fell down involved a pipe and a substance not discussed as such? What if they locked Wendy up for hallucinating about Neverland and a boy who never grew up? What if fairytales weren’t as innocent as they sounded and even princesses weren’t perfect? What if I told you your damage doesn’t define you and the way you survive is no one else’s damned business?
—  Nikita Gill, Fairytales Aren’t Perfect Either

Fendi’s 90th anniversary show “Legends and Fairytales” held at the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), Rome, last summer. The show’s inspiration came from the work of the Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen, and the collection of norse fairytales known as “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”, 1914. Sadly, the talented Kay Nielsen died poor and in obscurity in 1957, while his dreamy, delicate and intricate illustrations have regained popularity these recent years. Nielsen’s work belongs to the so called “golden age of illustration”, that is the early 20th century.


The Belly of the Beast. 2017

The whole book work is coloured black entirely by hand, save for a single drawing. Inspired by Perrault’s version of “Little Red Riding-Hood,” in which the young heroine is not saved by the woodcutter and instead dies inside the wolf. The cut-outs mimic a ‘stomach’ in which the figure will lie when the book is closed, trapped in darkness.

there’s violence in her smile
blood blooming on her lips

don’t you know wolves protect their pack
don’t you know dragons only breathe fire if dangers reckons

and darling, she’s a queen, 
one who wears a crown that glitters 

but step closer when she beckons
for the things that look like diamonds are in fact polished bones

she’s the mayhem of the myths, the darling of the dead
and the music of her laughter only inspires dread

—  This is How the Princess Becomes the Villain by Abby S